The words echoed in her ears - not ominously - a whisper, not a thunder. Some words demand a canyon to roll around and reflect; sometimes that canyon is the far reaches of one’s own head. Her head rattled with the words as the magic 8-ball of her mouth only uttered the the refrain “signs point to yes”. At least that’s what her dimples said. Her mouth was trying to avoid words completely - to avoid drowning out the echo.
Some words you only hear once. “You’re my favorite daughter” is the sort of thing you’ll only hear the one day you were particularly not like your sister and your sister was particularly demonic. Some words are by birthright. PDOMH - that acronym could stand for anything - “precocious diva of Mount Heron” or “person dependent on mock heroin.” But birthright words are not earned; how could you ever earn “precious darling of my heart?”
Those words echo, and rightly so. But they echo because they’re supposed to. There are other words, the deep words, the words that in any context are somehow always uttered just at the edge of our mental canyon. They echo precisely because we want and need to hear them more, so so much more, than we do or ever could.
And these were the words that resonated up and down her spine, eliciting smile after soft smile as though each step drove them splashing across the folds and contours of her mind only to have them wash away, sink down till almost forgotten, almost lost, until they worked their way back to the surface to crash in another wave of pure and simple pleasure.
“You look nice today.”
Of course, she always looks nice. It’s not just that she enjoys the affirmation. Affirmation is lovely, but it doesn’t echo. When someone says “you look nice,” she hears “you look the way you make me feel.” She tries hard to be that little flash, that sparkle, the light that makes mankind sit back and delight in the warmth and brightness of the sun. Not that she tries to be the sun, only its reflection; and when her reflection bounces back in a simple sincere compliment, is it any wonder that it continues its bouncing journey among all her nooks and crannies - the recesses of her spirit?
She longs to be seen, to be witnessed, for her contribution to be recognized as valuable. She strives to nurture and be nurtured, to be pushed into open embrace with the people who become swept up as dolphins and tuna in the nets of her compassion trawler that she might set them all free to be more free - more them that she might be more her.
This is her home, the comfortable slosh of peace and joy lapping against the side of her boat as it dances and glides along the waves of laughter that reflect not just herself, but something else, something greater, as it reflects off and refracts through herself and the ones she loves.
These are her people, her tribe, the ones who stand at the edge of her canyon and whisper words that echo. Teach. Dance. Look. Style. Precious. Nice. Favorite. Heart.
Heart. It always echoes. Heart. Even if only a whisper. Heart. Does it echo because it is said? Heart. Or is it said because it echoes?
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